Vegetables levy and charge

​​​​​​​​​​IMPORTANT—you can lodge your vegetable return online.

The vegetable levy and charge was first introduced 1 March 1996. Vegetables that are produced in Australia and are sold by the producer or used by the producer in the production of other goods, or that are exported will attract a levy or charge. Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited and Plant Health Australia (PHA) are responsible for the expenditure of the vegetable levy.

Vegetable levy and charge rates

Retail sale for vegetables means a sale by a producer except to a first purchaser or a sale through a buying agent, selling agent or exporting agent.

The vegetable levy and charge rate comprises Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR), PHA and research and development (R&D), as shown in the table below:

Levy componentLevy rate
EPPR0 per cent of the sale value
PHA0.015 per cent of the sale value
R&D0.485 per cent of the sale value
TOTAL 0.5 per cent of the sale value

The vegetable levy and charge is calculated as a percentage of the sale value. The vegetable charge is not payable if the levy has already been applied to the vegetables prior to export. GST is not applied to Australian Government levies and charges.

Do I need to lodge a return and make a payment?

The producer, the person who owns the vegetables immediately after harvest is liable to pay the levy.

If you produce vegetables and sell your vegetables by retail sale, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department.

If you produce vegetables and sell  your vegetables through an intermediary, including a first purchaser, buying agent, selling agent, exporting agent or processor, the amount of levy or charge they pay to the department on your behalf can be recovered from you by offset or otherwise.

If you are an intermediary, including a first purchaser, buying agent, selling agent, exporting agent or processor, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department. You can recover from the producer the amount of levy paid to the department by offset or otherwise.

If you export vegetables — that is, you own the vegetables at the time of export — you must lodge a return to the department and make a payment.

Exemptions from paying the vegetables levy and charge

The vegetable levy and charge does not apply to:

  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Hard onions
  • Herbs (other than fresh culinary shallots and parsley)
  • Melons
  • Mushrooms
  • Potatoes
  • Seed sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes, or
  • Tomatoes.

How do I lodge a vegetables return?

You must register with the department to receive a unique LRS number before you can lodge your first return.

To lodge your return online, access Levies Online. Alternatively, you can complete a manual horticulture return form.

Return and payment dates

IMPORTANT: If you pay your levy or charge late you will incur a penalty that is calculated daily at a compounding rate of 2 per cent of the unpaid amount each month, including any penalties you have already accrued until you have paid the outstanding amount in full.

The vegetables levy and charge is based on a financial year.

Quarterly returns and payments

Quarterly returns and payments must be lodged with the department within 28 days of the end of the quarters of March, June, September and December.

Example: for the quarter ending 30 September - if you bought, sold or exported vegetables in the months of July, August and September, your quarterly return and payment is due to the department on or before 28 October.

Annual return and payment

A producer of vegetables who sells their vegetables by retail sale must lodge an annual return to the department and make a payment.

Example: the 2017 annual financial year return and payment must be made on or before 28 August 2018.

As a vegetables levy and charge payer you may be eligible to lodge your return and make a payment to the department once a year, that is on or before 28 August in the next financial year. To be eligible for an annual return and payment, you must have reasonable grounds to believe that the total quantity of vegetables which you are likely to deal in, in a financial year, amounts to less than $500 of levy or charge. You must also make an application to the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. If you would like to make an application please contact the department’s levies office in your state or territory.

What must be included in my return?

As a producer of vegetables, your return for a quarter or levy year must set out in respect of each quarter in that levy year:

  1. Your personal details, including:
    1. Full name
    2. Business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag
    3. Post office box or post office bag, and
    4. Australian Business Number (ABN), or if you are a company the Australian Company Number (ACN)
  2. Period to which the return relates
  3. Amount paid for the vegetables, except for processed vegetables, at the first point of sale
  4. For processed vegetables, the amount that would have been paid for the vegetables at the first point of sale if the sale had occurred before processing
  5. Amount of levy payable, and
  6. Amount of levy paid.

As an intermediary dealing in vegetables, including as a first purchaser, buying agent, selling agent or exporting agent, your return for a quarter or levy year must set out in respect of each quarter in that levy year:

  1. Your personal details, including:
    1. Full name
    2. Business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag
    3. Post office box or post office bag, and
    4. ABN, or if you are a company the ACN
  2. Period to which the return relates
  3. Amount paid for the vegetables, except for processed vegetables, at the first point of sale
  4. For processed vegetables, the amount that would have been paid for the vegetables at the first point of sale if the sale had occurred before processing
  5. For exported vegetables, the free on board value of the vegetables immediately prior to export
  6. Amount of levy or charge payable, and
  7. Amount of levy or charge paid.

As an exporter of vegetables, your return for a quarter or levy year must set out in respect of each quarter in that levy year:

  1. Your personal details, including:
    1. Full name
    2. Business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag
    3. Post office box or post office bag, and
    4. ABN, or if you are a company the ACN
  2. Period to which the return relates
  3. Free on board value of the vegetables immediately prior to export
  4. Amount of charge payable, and
  5. Amount of charge paid.

What records do I need to keep?

As a producer of vegetables, you must keep records for five (5) years setting out for each levy year, the:

  1. Amount paid for the vegetables, except for processed vegetables, bought or sold at the first point of sale
  2. For processed vegetables bought or sold, the market price of the unprocessed vegetables on that day or the value of the vegetables immediately before processing
  3. Amount of levy payable
  4. Amount of levy paid, and
  5. For each person to whom vegetables were sold other than by retail sale, and from whom vegetables were bought, the person’s full name and business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag and the person’s ABN and if the person if a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.

As an intermediary dealing in vegetables, including as a first purchaser, buying agent, selling agent or exporting agent, you must keep records for five (5) years setting out for each levy year, the:

  1. Amount paid for the vegetables, except for processed potatoes, bought or sold at the first point of sale
  2. For processed vegetables bought or sold, the market price of the unprocessed vegetables on that day or the value of the vegetables immediately before processing
  3. For exported vegetables, the free on board value of the vegetables immediately prior to export of each consignment
  4. Amount of levy or charge payable
  5. Amount of levy or charge paid, and
  6. For each person to whom vegetables were sold other than by retail sale, and from whom vegetables were bought, the person’s full name and business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag and the person’s ABN and if the person if a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.

As an exporter of vegetables, you must keep records for five (5) years setting out for each levy year, the:

  1. Free on board value of the vegetables immediately prior to export of each consignment
  2. Amount of charge payable, and
  3. Amount of charge paid.

Primary Industries Legislation

The vegetable levy and charge is provided for under the:

Primary Industries (Customs) Charges Act 1999

Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Act 1999, and

Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991.

This information is a guide only. If you are required to lodge a return and make a payment to the department, it is your responsibility to remain aware of your obligations under legislation.

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